Walt Disney World Bringing Back Many Favorites
Disney theme parks have started to assume their post-pandemic form. So, we’ve got lots of good news today, at least in the Western hemisphere!
Walt Disney World Updates
Let’s start with the news that you’ve awaited.
Disney has started removing various signs of the pandemic.
To wit, cast members are taking down plexiglass barriers at many merchandise counters.
Disney has used these dividers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between employees and customers.
They haven’t all been removed yet, but the process has started in earnest.
You may not notice any of them by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Disney’s official health policy on its site still lists face-coverings as a requirement on Walt Disney World transportation.
That’s not 100 percent accurate, though.
As of now, you may safely remove your facemask while riding the Disney Skyliner.
Disney does still require masks on monorails and buses.
Remember that you have options if you feel more comfortable in masked settings, though.
Cast members usually honor requests for private Skyliner cabins. So, if you don’t want to ride in tight quarters with an unmasked stranger, just let the cast member know.
Also, you can choose Disney buses and monorails instead.
In other great news, Disney has announced that another event will return after a two-year absence.
Yes, now that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has reopened, the park can and will host H20 Glow Nights soon!
Disney hasn’t announced a return date yet, but the implication is that we’ll have these events again by summer.
As a reminder, Disney recently held its first Moonlight Magic event last week as well.
So, we can safely expect more after-hours events throughout the rest of 2022.
The Return of Disney Performers
If you’ve kept up with any Disney news lately, you likely know that Magic Kingdom suffered a PR fiasco involving a dance team’s routine.
Without going into details, Disney caught a bad break here, as it was only a few weeks away from reducing the parks’ reliance on such amateur performances.
Disney has added more high school routines at the parks to compensate for a lack of live performers. And, well, mistakes were made.
You may recall that the Festival of Fantasy Parade has removed several dancers from each performance due to ongoing staffing issues.
Thankfully, those days seem to be coming to an end.
This past week, some familiar faces triumphantly returned to Main Street, U.S.A.
Friends, I’m happy to inform you that the Dapper Dans are singing barbershop quartet songs again!
That’s legitimately enough reason to visit Magic Kingdom ASAP.
While you’re there, head to Frontierland. A familiar routine awaits you there as well.
The Frontierland Hoedown Happening has finally come back a few weeks after its targeted return of February 11th.
Disney has made similar commitments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, too.
The Festival of the Lion King will bring back some of its beloved performers soon.
A recent Disney Parks TikTok video showed the Tumble Monkeys practicing in anticipation of their impending return.
Disney has said they’ll be back this summer. However, I suspect we’re talking about Memorial Day at the latest.
In short, the live performances you’ve missed so much at the parks will be in full swing in a matter of weeks.
A Quick International Update
Internationally, the pandemic has recently proven to be a mixed bag.
To wit, Disneyland Paris removed one of its hurdles for a visit.
You no longer need a vaccine pass or health pass to enter the parks.
Alas, the pandemic is going better in Europe than in China at the moment.
Sadly, Hong Kong Disneyland has extended its closure yet again.
This park last operated on January 7th and will remain offline until at least April 20th.
Realistically, even that date looks unlikely, as Hong Kong is currently experiencing its worst outbreak to date.
Please don’t worry that this is a new variant. Instead, this is the contagious and virulent Omicron strain.
However, due to the latest outbreak, Shanghai Disneyland has closed as of today, March 21st.
So, we once again have multiple closed Disney theme parks in the world.
Thus far, Tokyo Disneyland hasn’t announced any policy changes, though. In fact, its most recent cast update went down from last time.
With the pandemic in check at the moment, the most significant recent park story was the 10th anniversary of the 3/11 natural disaster stemming from a 9.1 magnitude earthquake.
Here’s a video someone captured of that from the park in 2011:
So, North American Disney parks are pointing in the right direction, and we should all feel fortunate given current world events.
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